Transitions: Teaching Writing in Computer-Supported and Traditional Classrooms

by Mike Palmquist, Kate Kiefer, James Hartvigsen, and Barbara Goodlew. Ablex Publishing, 1998. 252 pp. ISBN: 1-56750-353-5 (paper).

Reviewed by Viktorija Todorovska, Arizona State University 

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Transitions: Teaching Writing in Computer-Supported and Traditional Classroom, collaboratively written by Michael Palmquist, Kate Keifer, James Hartvigsen, and Barbara Goodlew, explores the effects of technology on the teaching of writing based on data from two studies. Because this work successfully brings together theory and practice, it is an invaluable resource both for teachers who are making the transition from a traditional to a computer classroom and for researchers interested in issues of teaching writing in a networked classroom. While the book points out the need for teachers to "recognize and...address the complications of using computers and computer networks in a writing classroom" (p. 246) (since technology adds layers of complexity to the writing classroom), the emphasis clearly remains on the benefits of using technology.

The most attractive feature of the book is its focus on instruction, not technology; technology is discussed only as it pertains to the teaching and learning of writing. The central issues explored are what teachers learn about their teaching when they move back and forth between a traditional and a computer writing classroom, and what students learn in each instructional setting--the computer-networked and the traditional.  In addition to discussing these two fundamental questions, the book touches on issues such as classroom design and its effect on instruction, student access to computers, and designing effective training programs for teachers.

studies  |  theory  |   practice  |  transition  |  technology  |  benefits of using technology   |  instruction   |  setting   |  students   | introduction |